Dirty Projectors are not for the faint hearted. If you’re going to listen to them, dive in with both feet first. Based in Brooklyn and set up by David Longstreth – who went to Yale University – Dirty Projectors are expected to be enveloped in individual and artistic thinking. They are, but not in that annoying, pretentious way.
Along with Longstreth, Amber Coffman and other melodic female voices (with such impressive range of pitches, I’m convinced they’re not entirely human) give this band their startling textural quality. When I was told to listen to this band, I was given an order of songs to listen to and which song to absolutely not listen to until I had completed the list. Well, this is like giving someone a big, shiny red button and telling them not to push it – I felt with every fibre of my being to listen to this forbidden song immediately. But, I’m grateful and shocked to have exercised some self control and can now say the same thing to all who read this: start with the more accessible (but still brilliant) songs, like ‘Stillness is the Move’ and ‘Gun Has No Trigger’.
Album-wise, at first go for their newest release, Swing Lo Magellan (via Domino Recording Company) and then move to Bitte Orca. When you’ve embraced their quirky displacement in music (yet coming together so wonderfully weirdly), try the song ‘Beautiful Mother’. I’ll set the tone: it’s about whales. And believe me, when you know this whilst listening to it, it really comes through. But don’t worry, it’s not a Dory from Finding Nemo talking to whales kind of situation.
Dirty Projectors are truly unique and complicated, experimenting with no limits of musical sound or taste. They don’t care if they sound what would be considered a bit weird or crazy – they’ve opened their minds to creating enigmatic rhythms and musical combinations that we mere mortals couldn’t even dream of making.
By Kirsten Powley
Dance Yrself Clean